App developer settles with FTC after privacy breach – Mobile World Live

App developer settles with FTC after privacy breach

06 DEC 2013

The US Federal Trade Commission said it had settled a complaint with the developer of an Android flashlight app which “deceived customers about how their geolocation information would be shared with advertising networks and other third parties”.

The app involved, Brightest Flashlight Free from Goldenshores Technologies, has been downloaded “tens of millions of times”.  The FTC complaint alleged that the company’s privacy policy “deceptively failed to disclose that the app transmitted users’ precise location to third parties, including advertising networks”.

It also said that the company had “deceived consumers” by presenting them with an option to not share their information, even though it was shared automatically, rendering the option meaningless.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said: “When consumers are given a real, informed choice, they can decide for themselves whether the benefit of a service is worth the information they must share to use it. But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Goldenshores cannot misrepresent how consumer information is collected and shared and how much control consumers have over the way it is used.

The company also has  to provide a “just-in-time” disclosure that fully informs consumers when, how and why their geolocation information is being collected, used and shared, and requires defendants to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before doing so.

Goldenshores will also be required to delete any personal information collected from consumers through the Brightest Flashlight app.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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